Bills CEO couldn’t have ‘cared less if the Jills existed’

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The lawsuit by former cheerleaders against the Buffalo Bills, the NFL and others surpassed its third year, just last month
Since April 2014, the public has heard very little from the local franchise about either the lawsuit or how they felt about the Jills, which for decades was synonymous with their sidelines.

But court records made public this week show exactly how the Bills’ brass felt about their cheerleading squad: They were part of the game day festivities — and little else.

The Buffalo Jills haven’t cheered since the 2013-2014 football season, after their former director Stephanie Matezcun suspended operations two days after members of her squad filed a lawsuit.

But that didn’t seem to matter to Russ Brandon, according to transcripts of his deposition in the lawsuit that were released on Wednesday.

If you recall, five members of the the Jills filed a civil lawsuit in April 2014, alleging violations of workers’ rights by Matezcun, the Bills, their former manager Citadel Communications and eventually the NFL.

The Bills gave up control of their cheerleading squad in 1986, leasing out their operations to a third party in Citadel.

Russ Brandon was one of multiple people deposed last November as part of the lawsuit.

He told an attorney for Citadel when asked about the Jills, “They were inconsequential from a business standpoint to me.”

He said the Jills were “A part of the game day experience, simply put. Nothing more. Nothing less.”

Brandon was then questioned about whether the Jills or their operations were listed as line items in the team’s budget.

He told the same attorney, “If I spent one collective hour in 20 years thinking about the Buffalo Jills, that would be about 58 minutes more than I have.”

When questioned about an ongoing dispute between the former Jills and their alumnae association, Brandon said “My give-a-blank meter would have been zero.”

Near the end of questioning, Brandon responds to an attorney for the cheerleaders: “I couldn’t have cared less if the Jills existed.”

But a few minutes later, a caveat:

“It sounds disrespectful, and I don’t want it to be disrespectful,” he said, adding that as president and CEO, the Jills weren’t part of his day-to-day focus.

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